LIFE LESSONS IN YOGA // BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT LOOKING OUTWARDS

Feet on yoga mat

Yoga feet on mat

While taking a much-needed yoga class the other day I realized that many things that happen in class mirror what happen in real life. I’m in a major personal/professional development stage (i.e. on the constant verge of a nervous breakdown) so I tend to notice strange correlations between my behavior in personal and professional settings.

I found myself happily in tree pose yesterday (quite easily one of my favorite postures apart from shavasana), enjoying my own strength and flexibility when I got the urge to check out the pose of this blonde, amazonian goddess whose body was made for spandex and midi skirts (short girls you know the struggle). Mentally, I knew it would do no good to see what graceful pose she was producing but I just couldn’t help myself. I took my eyes off the little hole above the mirror where I had my eyes firmly fixated so I would fall and not-so-slyly looked her direction. BAM I lost all balance and concentration and fell out of a pose I could comfortably hold for hours if ever necessary.

Shamefully guiding my leg back into tree pose, I thought about how I’ve been looking outside myself for answers and guidance as of late. Starting a business- heck starting anything new- leaves you feeling like you are no-man’s land. You grasp for anything familiar and look to the path of those who came before. While I am all for looking to others for inspiration and guidance, it is important to know when to look outwards shut out the noise and look in. I was happy in tree pose- it felt good, I felt strong, and I was doing just what my body wanted me to do at that moment. Until I felt the need to look at what someone else who was in a different place in their practice was doing. I questioned my own ability to listen to my body and instead felt the need to check out someone who probably hasn’t eaten a carb since 1992.

What’s the lesson here? Focus on what is happening on your own mat (and by mat I mean life). Listen to yourself, your body, your heart. Know when to look for guidance and when to dig deep and ask yourself important questions. Listen openly for the answers, and don’t compare your answers to someone else’s. The minute you take your eyes of your own work, you lose balance and concentration and begin to doubt what you are doing and where you are going. When you feel behind or lost or confused it is tempting to look at others to see what they are doing, but I’m here to tell you that the best thing you can do is get quiet and listen. Sure, you can follow the path of someone else but you’ll always end up back where you started because it wasn’t your path to take. Take guidance and inspiration from others that inspires and motivates you and leave the rest. Bring that inspiration and motivation to your own mat and get to work.